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KAUAI FIRST TIMER NEEDS HELP!

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Heading to the St. Regis in Princeville in early August for only a week. I have a few questions for those of you who are knowledgeable about the island:

1. I am shocked to have read how many drownings occur on Kauai from just standing on the lava rocks overlooking the water, snorkeling in shallow water, or walking on a beach. Stories of tourists being washed out to sea by monster waves. I had no idea the ocean here was so dangerous! My husband and I were really looking forward to swimming and snorkeling in the ocean in Hanalei Bay, Tunnels Beach, and Hideaway Beach. Should I be concerned? Is it necessary to wear a life jacket when you snorkel? Will we need wet suits?

2. I have a non-life-threatening heart condition and a herniated disk in my back (I know it sounds like I'm 80, but I am only 40). I really want to see the Na Pali coast but my husband and I get sea sick so the boat tours are out. Instead, I would REALLY like to hike a moderate trail at a slow pace- something not too difficult cardio-wise.. Distance is not so much a problem for me, but climbing steep hills can be a problem. Is it possible to do the first 2 miles (or maybe 1 mile) of the Kalalau Trail at a slow pace and still get decent views? I was also looking at the Pihea Trail in Waimea Canyon. Which is more strenuous and which has better views of the Na Pali coast?

3. My husband wants to find some local restaurants not too far from the St. Regis that are off the beaten path- local flavor and ambiance, etc. Looking for casual. Any suggestions? (We have a rental car).

Many thanks for any advice!

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